With the rising costs of health care coverage, employers are looking for ways to reduce costs and make health coverage more affordable. When …
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With the rising costs of health care coverage, employers are
looking for ways to reduce costs and make health coverage more
When employees covered under a health plan lead healthy
lifestyles and engage in wellness and disease prevention
activities, their need for health care and the costs of their
health care are reduced.
In turn, the entity providing the health care coverage benefits
from reduced utilization rates and costs.
Thanks to House Bill 1012, sponsored by Littleton Rep. Joe Rice
and Sen. Linda Newell, all of that will be a whole lot easier.
Starting July 1, insurance companies will be allowed to offer
discounts and incentives to small business and their employees who
participate in health and wellness programs. Insurers are currently
prohibited from offering incentives even to small businesses that
want access to health plans with financial and health rewards. This
will also promote both personal responsibility and lower insurance
“This will help the employer minimize absenteeism, increase
productivity and reduce health care costs,” Newell said. “It will
also help the employee control his or her own health care costs and
have a better chance of better health. Healthy communities mean
healthy workers and a healthy economy.”
Some examples of “wellness and prevention programs” cited in the
bill include health screenings, health club or fitness center
memberships, stress management programs, health fairs, diabetes
care programs and tobacco cessation.
House Bill 1012 was one of several health care bills signed by
Governor Bill Ritter this legislative session.
He also signed the Colorado Healthcare Affordability Act — a
historic act that will provide health coverage to more than 100,000
uninsured Coloradans, and House Bill 1103, allows patients in need
of long-term care to be presumptively eligible for Medicaid, which
will save costs and improve patients' quality of life. The bill was
co-sponsored by Newell.
“This legislation will help employers maintain a healthy
workforce, and it will encourage employees to take personal
responsibility for their health by participating in wellness
programs,” Ritter said at the signing ceremony at the Buck
Recreation Center in April. “It also comes at a time when we need
our workforce to be healthy and strong to lead Colorado
“Providing incentives for wellness is a common sense idea that
benefits our health and our pocketbooks. Employees will be
healthier and employers can increase productivity, all while
reducing health care costs. Now that’s a win-win,” Rice said.
Another bill (Senate Bill 47) sponsored by Newell which also
goes into effect July 1, establishes a Crime Victim Services
Advisory Board in the Division of Criminal Justice.
It had unanimous, bipartisan support in both the House and
Senate this year.
Senate Bill 47 provides a strengthened crimes victim advisory
system and a greater community around those who have been a victim
of crime. It combines several existing crime-victim-related boards
into a single advisory board. The consolidation will streamline the
process of applying for funding for crime victims by reducing the
number of entities to which applicants must submit documentation,
simplify the process overall and gain better consistency of grant
“We’ll be able to improve services to victims with less
bureaucracy,” Newell said. “That is the best way to deliver help to
those who need it.”
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